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Selection Process

Selection Process

List of Consulting Firms

Consulting Firms: The Ministry of Urban Development will technically qualify a panel of consulting firms and the States/UTs are at liberty to draw upon this panel. As considered necessary, the States/UTs may request financial proposals from these firms in the template RFP given in the Toolkit and do a selection based on applicable procurement rules and guidelines. The States have the option of appointing a consulting firm outside the panel by following transparent and fair procedures as per State financial rules.

List of Consulting Firms:

Coverage & Duration

The Mission will cover 100 cities and its duration will be five years (FY2015-16 to FY2019- 20). The Mission may be continued thereafter in the light of an evaluation to be done by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and incorporating the learnings into the Mission.

The development of Smart Cities Mission is thus to promote cities that provide core urban infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and the application of ‘Smart Solutions’ to improve the quality of life of its citizens and attract people and investments to the cities for its growth and development. The core infrastructure elements in Smart Cities include:

  • Adequate water supply
  • Assured electricity supply
  • Sanitation, including solid waste management
  • Efficient urban mobility and public transport
  • Affordable housing, especially for the poor
  • Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
  • Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
  • Sustainable environment
  • Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and
  • Health and education 

The Smart Cities Mission covers 100 cities over a duration of five years, i.e. 2015-16 to 2019-20. There are two components of SCM where the local-area development will be enabled through Area-based development and existing citywide infrastructure through Pan-city development. Area-based development includes transforming existing areas through retrofitting and redevelopment and the development of new areas around cities to accommodate expanding population through greenfield development. Whereas, the Pan-city initiative includes application of Smart Solutions covering larger parts of the city and existing citywide infrastructure.

Process of Selection

The selection process of Smart Cities was based on the idea of Competitive and Co-operative Federalism. It is for the first time in the urban history of India that cities were selected based on competition. A two-stage selection process was followed. 100 smart cities were first distributed amongst the States and UTs on the basis of equitable criteria. In the first stage, States/UT shortlisted potential smart cities on the basis of certain pre-conditions and scores. In the second stage of the competition, each of the potential 100 smart cities prepared their Smart City Proposal (SCP) which contained the model chosen (retrofitting or redevelopment or green-field development or a mix thereof) and additionally included a Pan-city dimension with smart solutions.


All 100 smart cities have been selected through a City Challenge Process in four rounds as below:

  • 20 Smart Cities selected in Round 1 in January 2016
  • 13 Smart Cities were selected in Fast Track Round in May 2016
  • 27 Smart Cities selected in Round 2 in September 2016
  • 30 Smart Cities selected in Round 3 in June 2017 and
  • 10 Smart Cities selected in Round 4 in January/June 2018

Each Smart City has been encouraged to formulate its own concept, vision, mission and plan (proposal) which is appropriate to its local context, resources and level of ambition. The Smart City Proposal (SCP) includes core-infrastructure elements such as assured water supply, electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient mobility and public transport, affordable housing, safety and security, health and education. Smart Solutions in SCP include a bouquet of services that ensure that service delivery levels are achieved and measured, citizen services are seamlessly delivered, grievances are timely registered and resolved and safety is increased through video surveillance and monitoring.

Each aspiring city competes for selection as a Smart City in what is called a ‘City Challenge’. There are two stages in the selection process. After the number has been indicated to the respective Chief Secretaries, as outlined in para 8 above, the State/UT will undertake the following steps:-

Stage 1 of the competition: Shortlisting of cities by States The State/UT began with shortlisting the potential Smart Cities on the basis of conditions precedent and scoring criteria and in accordance with the total number allocated to it. The first stage of the competition was intra-state, in which cities in the State competed on the conditions precedent and the scoring criteria laid out. These conditions precedent were met by the potential cities to succeed in the first round of competition and the highest scoring potential Smart Cities was shortlisted and recommended to participate in Stage 2 of the Challenge. The information sent by the ULBs in the forms was evaluated by the State Mission Director and the evaluation placed before the State-level High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) for approval. 

The cities emerging successful in the first round of competition were sent by the State/UT as the recommended shortlist of Smart Cities to MoUD by the stipulated date (to be indicated in the letter to Chief Secretaries). The State Government filled the form and sent the details with the recommended list. The MoUD thereafter announced the list of 100 Smart Cities.

Stage 2 of the competition: The Challenge round for selection In the second stage of the competition, each of the potential 100 Smart Cities prepared their proposals for participation in the ‘City Challenge’. This was a crucial stage as each city’s Smart City 12 Proposal was expected to contain the model chosen, whether retrofitting or redevelopment or greenfield development or a mix thereof, and additionally included a Pan-City dimension with Smart Solutions. The SCP also outlined the consultations held with the city residents and other stakeholders, how the aspirations were matched with the vision contained in the SCP and importantly, what was the proposal for financing of the Smart City plan including the revenue model to attract private participation. An evaluation criteria for the SCPs had been worked out by MoUD based on professional advice and this acted as guidance to the cities for preparing their proposal.

By a stipulated date, indicated by MoUDto the States/UTs, proposals were submitted to MoUD for all these 100 cities. These were then evaluated by a Committee involving a panel of national and international experts, organizations and institutions. The winners of the first round of Challenge were announced by MoUD. Thereafter, while the winning cities started taking action on making their city smart, those who did not get selected started working on improving their SCPs for consideration in the second round. Depending on the nature of the SCPs and outcomes of the first round of the Challenge, the MoUD decided to provide hand-holding assistance to the potential Smart Cities to upgrade their proposals before starting the second round

Scheme for Selection Process

Below are given the scoring criteria to be used by the States/UTs to score the potential Smart Cities and send the names of cities with the highest scores to MoUD for their selection to participate in the Stage 2 of the Challenge:

  • Existing Service Levels 
    • Percentage of increase over Census 2011 or Swachh Bharat baseline on number of household sanitary latrines, whichever is less (Form 2, Part -1) – 10 points, 
    • Making operable Online Grievance Redressal System with response being sent back to complainant (Form 2, Part-2) – (Y/N) – 5 points, 
    • At-least first monthly e-newsletter published (Form 2, Part-3) – (Y/N) – 5 points, and 
    • Electronically place project-wise municipal budget expenditure information for the last two financial years on the website (Form 2, Part-4) – (Y/N) – 5 points.
  • Institutional Systems/ Capacities 
    • Started to levy compensatory penalty for delays in service delivery (Form 2, Part 7) - (Y/N) – 5 points, and 
    • Has the total collection of internally generated revenue (e.g. taxes, fees, charges) shown an increasing trend during the last three FYs (2012-15) – (Form 2, Part 8) (Y/N) – 10 points. 
  • Self-financing 
    • Payment of salaries by ULB up-to last month (Form 2, Part-9) – 5 points, 
    • Audit of accounts up-to FY 12-13 (Form 2, Part-10) – 5 points,
    • Percentage contribution of tax revenue, fees and user charges, rents and other internal revenue sources to the ULB Budget (actuals in 2014-15) – (Form 2, Part 11) – 10 points, and
    • Percentage of operation and maintenance cost of water supply, which is met by collected user charges for supply of water during last FY (2014-15) – (Form 2, Part 12) – 10 points. 
  • Past track record and reforms 
    • Percentage of internal revenue sources (self-generated) budget funds used for capital works during FY (2014-15) – (Form 2, Part 13) – 10 points, 
    • Percentage of City-level JnNURM Reforms achieved (Form2, Part 14) – 10 points for six (6)ULB level Reforms, and 
    • Percentage of JnNURM projects completed, which were sanctioned during the original Mission period (upto 2012) (Form 2, Part 15) – 10 points.

Generic Gaps


Logical Process Flow  for Plan Development PDF File  [1.25 MB]

Proposal Preparation

The Government has not prescribed any particular model to be adopted by the Smart Cities. The approach is not ‘one-size-fits-all’; each city has to formulate its own concept, vision, mission and plan (proposal) for a Smart City that is appropriate to its local context, resources and levels of ambition. Accordingly, they have to choose their model of Smart City and answer the question: What kind of Smart City do they want? For this, cities will prepare their Smart City Proposal (SCP) containing the vision, plan for mobilisation of resources and intended outcomes in terms of infrastructure up-gradation and smart applications

Essential features of SCP: It may be noted that even though a particular model is not being prescribed, it is expected that the SCPs will include a large number of infrastructure services and smart solutions highlighted in paras 2.4 and 2.5. In particular, the elements that must form part of a SCP are assured electricity supply with at least 10% of the Smart City’s energy requirement coming from solar, adequate water supply including waste water recycling and stormwater reuse, sanitation including solid waste management, rain water harvesting, smart metering, robust IT connectivity and digitalization, pedestrian friendly pathways, encouragement to non-motorised transport (e.g. walking and cycling), intelligent traffic management, non-vehicle streets/zones, smart parking, energy efficient street lighting, innovative use of open spaces, visible improvement in the Area (e.g. replacing overhead electric wiring with underground wiring, encroachment-free public areas, and ensuring safety of citizens especially children, women and elderly). Cities will have to add more ‘smart’ applications to this list in order to improve their SCP. In the case of redevelopment and greenfield models of Smart Cities, in addition to the essential features mentioned above, at least 80% buildings should be energy efficient and green buildings. Additionally, of the total housing provided in greenfield development, there should be at least 15% in the affordable housing category. It must be emphasized that, since cities are competing with each other for selection under the Smart Cities Mission, the SCPs have to be prepared with great care and the proposed Smart City made ‘smart’ enough.

Cities will prepare SCPs using the principles of strategic planning process and the proposal will contain area-based development plans and Pan-city initiatives. The SCP is collaborative because the objectives and funds of all government departments, parastatals, private agencies and the citizens are dovetailed during the process of preparing the SCP. It is realized that the task of preparing the SCPs is quite challenging and States/ULBs will require assistance of experts. There are two ways of obtaining technical assistance support — by hiring consulting firms and engaging with hand holding agencies


Comprehensive development occurs in areas by integrating the physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure. Many of the sectoral schemes of the Government converge in this goal, although the path is different. There is a strong complementarity between the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities Mission in achieving urban transformation. While AMRUT follows a project-based approach, the Smart Cities Mission follows an area-based strategy. 

Similarly, great benefit can be derived by seeking convergence of other Central and State Government Programs/Schemes with the Smart Cities Mission. At the planning stage itself, cities must seek convergence in the SCP with AMRUT, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), Digital India, Skill development, Housing for All, construction of Museums funded by the Culture Department and other programs connected to social infrastructure such as Health, Education and Culture. (Annexure 1).


Handholding Support

It is realized that the task of preparing the SCPs is quite challenging and States/ULBs will require assistance of experts. There are two ways of obtaining technical assistance support - by hiring consulting firms and engaging with hand-holding agencies.

  • Consulting Firms: The Ministry of Urban Development will technically qualify a panel of consulting firms and the States/UTs are at liberty to draw upon this panel. As considered necessary, the States/UTs may request financial proposals from these firms in the template RFP given in the Toolkit and do a selection based on applicable procurement rules and guidelines. The scope of work for the Smart City Consulting firms is given in Annexure 1. The States have the option of appointing a consulting firm outside the panel by following transparent and fair procedures as per State financial rules.
  • Handholding Agencies: During the preparation of the Smart Cities Mission, a number of foreign Governments have offered to provide Technical Assistance (TA) support. Additionally, other external organizations, including bilateral and multilateral institutions, as well as domestic organizations have suggested to the Ministry of Urban Development that they can give technical assistance support. These include World Bank, ADB, JICA, USTDA, AFD, KfW, DFID, UN Habitat, UNIDO, etc. Such organizations, which have experience in the field of smart city development, can also extend support to the States/UTs as hand-holding agencies in preparing the SCPs. The Ministry will assist in tying up the arrangements.

Scope of work for the Smart City Consulting Firm

The Consulting Firm will assist in preparing a Smart City Proposal under the supervision of the Urban Local Body and the State Government and will include,

  • The Consulting Firm will prepare a City-wide concept Plan based on a review of previous plans, interventions and documents of all departments and agencies (e.g. old or revised City Development Plan, City Sanitation Plan, City Mobility Plan, Master Plan). The City-wide Concept Plan will include the Smart City Vision (how the city visualizes itself in 5 years), Mission and identification of key challenges, situation analysis (physical, economic, social, legal and institutional infrastructure)/ As-is deion.
  • After detailed citizen consultations, an overall strategy will be prepared that will define the Smart City and clearly state the objectives based on the Mission document and Guidelines.
  • The Consulting Firm will prepare a Smart City Proposal (SCP) to participate in ‘Challenge’ (competition) according to the Smart City Mission Statement and Guidelines. The proposal will contain retrofitting or redevelopment or greenfield models and atleast one Pan-city initiative. The focus will be on transformative projects with the highest possible impact on (i) economic growth in the city (e.g. number of new jobs created, new firms attracted, increased productivity and business climate in the formal as well as informal sectors, recognition of and incorporating urban vendors), and (ii) improving the quality of life for all, especially the poor: (e.g. reduction in commuting time, support of non-motorized transport, improvement in air and water quality/increased coverage of water, solid waste management, street lighting, enhanced green public spaces, improved safety and security).
  • The SCP willconsist of Strategic Action Plans for Area Developments based on the three typologies: (a) area improvement (retrofitting) (b) city renewal (redevelopment) and (c) city extension (greenfield) and at least one City-wide (Pan-city) initiative that applies Smart Solutions to the physical, economic, social and institutional infrastructure. Application of Smart Solutions will involve the use of technology, information and data to make infrastructure and services better and using smart technologies for the development of the poor and marginalized will be an important part of the Proposal.
  • The Smart City Proposal will include a financing plan for the complete life cycle of the Proposal. This financial plan will identify internal (taxes, rents, licenses and user charges) and external (grants, assigned revenues, loans and borrowings) sources of mobilizing funds for capital investments and operation and maintenance over the life cycle of the project. The financial plan will provide for
    sources for repayment of project cost over a period of 8-10 years, O&M cost and also include resource improvement action plan for financial sustainability of ULB.
  • Convergence of area plans with National and State level sectoral financial plans, for example the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Housing for All, Swachh Bharat and Digital India.
  • The Proposal development will lead to creation of a smart citizenry. The proposal will be citizen-driven, from the beginning, achieved through citizen consultations, including active participation of groups of people, such as Residents Welfare Associations, Tax Payers Associations, Senior Citizens and Slum Dwellers Associations. During consultations, issues, needs and priorities of citizens and groups of people will be identified and citizen-driven solutions generated.

The Consulting Firms will develop the SCPs for participation in the Challenge.